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Get Me There: Manchester's New Flexible Transport Ticket

Transport leaders unveil name for city's new smart ticketing system

Written by . Published on June 17th 2013.

Get Me There: Manchester's New Flexible Transport Ticket

TfGM have unveiled the new name for Manchester’s very own answer to London’s Oyster Card, and it’s called… ba ba ba baaaa Get Me There.

Which would have been oh so very witty had the overseeing authority of the city’s transport networks been entitled Greater Manchester Transport and not Transport for Greater Manchester. So close.

The new name has been chosen to reflect how the new smart ticketing system will make journeys by bus, tram or train (or all three) much easier, flexible and accessible – reflecting, as Councillor Andrew Fender call its, a 'what it does on the tin' attitude.

The new scheme is expected to be intially rolled out on the Metrolink in the second half of 2014, on the buses in 2015 and on the trains thereafter.

Oxford Road Rail StationOxford Road Rail Station

Below is the Get Me Here release by TfGM:

Transport leaders have given their seal of approval to the name for Greater Manchester’s much anticipated new smart ticketing system, which is due to be introduced in stages starting in 2014.

The name for the new scheme – get me there – has been chosen to reflect how smart ticketing will make journeys by public transport easier and more flexible, whether by tram, by bus, by train – or any combination of the three.

Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, Councillor Andrew Fender, said: “get me there is one of the most exciting developments in public transport in Greater Manchester in many years.

“It will revolutionise the way that people pay for their transport needs, and will help to remove many of the barriers that get in the way of people making best use of our buses, trains and trams.

“With more than 30 independent, commercial bus operators, a tram network and several inter-regional rail operators running public transport services across and into the region, our smart ticketing scheme will be one of the most advanced of its type in the world.

“But we want it to be as simple as possible for people at the point of use – hence a name that says ‘what it does on the tin’.

“London may have its Oyster and Liverpool its Walrus, but we like to embrace the challenge of doing things differently here, which is why we have chosen a different kind of name with get me there.”

Councillor Fender added: “We knew that people would expect our scheme to be like Oyster, but both life and technology have moved on since its introduction.

“People will have a variety of ways to use get me there and that’s why our focus is about what the system can do for you, rather than the name of a single card.

Buses at Piccadilly GardensBuses at Piccadilly Gardens

“Yes, there will be a dedicated card – called my get me there – for the scheme, but  people with an existing TfGM-issued concessionary photo card, such as an igo or a national concessionary scheme card, will be able to  use these cards instead.

get me there will also accept contactless bank cards when we roll out the scheme on Metrolink and, in the near future, we expect that people will be able to use their smart phones as well.

“The technology behind get me there is being built to be as flexible as possible to accommodate any future devices – even the ones we don’t know about yet.”

Passengers will be able to use the scheme by touching their get me there-enabled device – be it a card or, in the future, a phone – on to an electronic validator, which will then check if they have a valid travel card or enough ‘pay as you go’ credit in their account to travel.

The installation of get me there validators on Metrolink stops is due to start later this year, one of the first visible signs that smart ticketing is on its way.

“We’re introducing get me there on Metrolink first to make sure we get all the basics working right before extending it to bus operators,” explains Cllr Fender.

“We are still working out detail around the timescales but Metrolink passengers can expect to be using get me there in the second half of 2014, bus passengers in 2015 and rail thereafter.”

With eight out of every ten public transport journeys in Greater Manchester made by bus, all efforts are being made to make sure that get me there will be available on bus services as soon as possible after Metrolink.

Richard Soper is First Group’s Strategic Development Director for the North of England and chair of GMTL, the partnership organisation representing all the bus and train companies operating in the region. He sees the introduction of get me there as the next big step in making travelling with different operators easier for the public.


He said: “We have all learned a great deal from System One, the range of paper tickets we currently promote that allow passengers to switch between different modes of travel and different operators. We have therefore been working very closely with TfGM on the details of the new scheme and also on the scheme name.

“We wanted something that helps customers understand what the scheme does and how they will be able to use it and get me there does just that. It will give everyone greater choice and greater flexibility in their travel options, as well as making it easier to purchase and use multimodal tickets.”

Chris Bowles is Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester and Chair of OneBus, the association of Greater Manchester bus operating companies. He believes that the flexibility of get me there will help to maximise the uptake of smart ticketing across the region and help to increase the appeal of public transport. 

He said: “If you include all the existing concessionary card holders there are over half a million smart-enabled cards already out there in Greater Manchester. Once the scheme goes live, concession holders will be able to register with get me there to enhance the benefits of their existing card.”

Councillor Fender expects the decision on the name of the scheme to be the first step in communicating to the public how smart ticketing is going to work, adding: “We know that there is a lot of interest and expectation regarding smart ticketing so now that we have a name we can start to communicate how it will work and when people will be able to use it across the various different modes of transport.

“Agreeing the name is a crucial part of that and we will now be working to get a new information website up and running in the next couple of months so that people can keep up to date with our progress."

More information is available at www.getmethere.com or through TfGM Travelshops.

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25 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Stephen DouglasJune 17th 2013.

It doesn't really need to have a name at all. Go abroad, and buy a ticket from a machine - you'll probably be given a choice of durations, you may get a choice of zones. It's just called a day card or a weekend card or whatever. I also can't say I understand the desperate desire to have smart cards for everything - they could have had integrated ticketing years ago with cardboard tickets with a magnetic strip, like in most places in Europe. Smart cards should be an add-on, not the key feature. The biggest issue with buses on many of the busier routes is how long it takes to get everybody on and paid - there's no reason why ticket machines can't be installed at busy stops once the issue of multiple operators is overcome. But that's not high-tech enough, so we have to have an entire smart card infrastructure, with minimum balances and automated top-ups and all that jazz before we can simply buy a ticket while we wait for the bus to arrive.

Penny CloustonJune 17th 2013.

Fourth paragraph, shouldn't that read as second half of 2014 not 2015?

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialJune 17th 2013.

Yes. Changed. Thanks.

AnonymousJune 17th 2013.

One of the best things about Oyster is that it automatically caps the cost at the day ticket rate. It would be really useful if this could be included in this scheme.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Chris PaulJune 20th 2013.

Capped day or week or more. That is indeed a feature of 'get me there'.

dsbmancJune 17th 2013.

I think the point in this system is you don't have to PHYSICALLY buy a ticket AT TIME OF USE, you can keep your card and just get on you chosen mode of transport without the hassle of buying the ticket beforehand which can often be as the tram/bus/train is just pulling away from the station. Personally the Metrolink ticket machines are a nightmare, far too much jabbing at the screen to buy a simple ticket.

Barry MaginnJune 17th 2013.

Big question: will it reduce how criminally expensive the metro is?

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 18th 2013.

How much should it cost Barry? Name some prices.

Barry MaginnJune 18th 2013.

Okay, less than £6.20 return to Altrincham. Somewhere similar to prices for similar systems in similar size cities, like Hamburg (although not a fair comparison, as tose systems are actually reliable). So around a quid a journey. Is that mad? Do you get the tram every morning? If not, come back to me when you do.

Chris PaulJune 20th 2013.

If you get a tram every morning you'll be buying a season ticket won't you? And making huge saving on that peak return price. And you'll know about the very good deals on all stop weekend tickets (5.50), family tickets (is it 8 for a weekend for 2 adults and three kids), and group fares? I'd expect the single fare will become half the return, and that with some bus seasons reduced in price there'll be more downward pressure on prices. How much is an any bus peak day ticket? How long is the bus journey to where you're going? You have choices. Even a cycle.

Barry MaginnJune 20th 2013.

Mate - the bus takes almost an hour. The month ticket is still £95 a month - just for Alty and back. As for long than month passes - unaffordable to pay for in one go, and minimal savings (£270 for 3 months I think). At least a season pass on the tube allows you travel all over the relevant zones you've paid for, not just one line. I pay all that money and couldn't even use the pass to go to, say, Chorlton. Weekend and family tickets don't really help commuters. I don't think I'm alone in thinking the tram is a bad, overpriced system. Check out TFGM's twitter feed. Why are you defending it so much? Do you use it everyday? Should people just put up with bad, overpriced services? Also, singles fares are not half the price of returns, you're trying to argue based on a few guesses.

IanJune 21st 2013.

A season ticket doesn't result in huge savings. If you only use it mon-friday you save about £2

Barry MaginnJune 21st 2013.

Exactly - thank you. Why am I getting a torrent of abuse for suggesting the tram is rubbish and over-priced? From people who don't even use the thing. I'm about to get one home now and just know it will be delayed. So I'll use that time to consider how ill informed Chris Paul must be about the tram. I'll also draft an FOI to see how often trams are delayed, why, and by how much the system is missing its targets. It's the world's biggest farce. Why the council doesn't step in, I don't know.

the Whalley RangerJune 22nd 2013.

Barry - you are absolutely spot on. A ticket on NY's underground sets you back $1.80 (valid for three hours). A bus ticket in Rome is €1 (valid for 90min). A multi-zone multi-swap Bus Tram U-Bahn single fare in Berlin sets you back €2.40 (valid for two hours). Our prices by comparison are unbelievably inflexible and ridiculously dear. Aren't we supposed to be competing with these cities for business? Fail!

David in CheshireJune 18th 2013.

So this may be heresy, but couldn't they just use Oyster? I already have two Oyster cards in my wallet (one for business, one for personal). I suppose I'll have to find space for two GetMeThere cards as well, and eventually two more for every other city I visit regularly.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Chris PaulJune 20th 2013.

Probably no technical reason this couldn't happen. Would just need a TFGM/TFL deal. But the whole point of 'get me there' is you don't need an extra card at all. Just use your plastic, or your phone, or an existing pass, or whatever they think of next payment wise. It's brilliant.

AnonymousJune 21st 2013.

In Barcelona you can get a T10 ticket which gives you 10 journeys [within the extensive central zone] for about 70p each - a journey can use more than one form of transport: it is all counted as a single journey if used within 75 mins. It's card with a magnetic strip which you 'clock in' to machines on the buses, underground and railway stations - as I believe the old Selnec bus company had in the 1970s.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
IanJune 21st 2013.

^ This. So easy and cheap when you're in barca

Barry MaginnJune 21st 2013.

Paris has a similar 10 journey deal - think it's only for the underground system though. So not really the same point about integrated systems, but just interesting to compare the prices Manchester public transport charges compared to other cities. TfGM could learn a lesson from just about any major European system. Don't spend money on branding exercises, just reduce prices, simple. Get your house in order price and reliability wise before worrying about integrated transport systems.

AnonymousJune 19th 2014.

Used this while in Barcelona last year. It's a great cheap way to transfer from the airport. Likewise the Singapore MRT which also included paper tickets that can be "re-charged" if you don't want the faff of the (cheaper per journey) top-uppable plastic card valid on MRT, light rail and buses. An hour's journey to the airport costs less than £2. I'd have to guess that one reason Manchester trams are so expensive is because of poor quality control and project management. Sport the number of (non) workers at any site where improvements/repairs are being made.

AnonymousJune 23rd 2013.

what is the subsidy on the Euro prices?

AnonymousJune 23rd 2013.

Bus fares are subsided by the tax contribution for central and local government for the concessionary cards. Tram fares as far I understand are not. Train fares have a small subsidy from from the same source.

AnonymousJune 23rd 2013.

NY prices with subsidy at $2.80 per trip

AnonymousJune 23rd 2013.

Metro link reliability (note this is probably whats in the meeting minutes but the authority cannot reliably supply me with these at the moment! www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/…/… Are there any figures for other systems.

AnonymousJune 24th 2013.

Maybe ensuring that everyone is paying for their journeys is the first step to reducing prices... Too many chavs riding for free...

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